Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Leather is Back.

Supermodels aren't the only ones who can make leathery outfits appear modern, trendy and feminine, says Clare Coulson and we believe her.

Kate Moss, as we know, can get away with wearing virtually anything. But even her staunchest defenders were aghast when she stepped onto the red carpet at last year's Costume Institute gala in New York working skin-tight, black leather trousers. It was a fashion wrong dot com!

Belt up: mini-dress with corrugated hem, Christopher Kane
In recent years, it's only been seen on greasy bikers and streetwalkers. It was so wrong that no one could imagine a renaissance, even if Midas-touch Moss had given it her seal of approval.
But one year on, and leather is well and truly back.

Get it Right
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: "Would Nancy Dell'Olio wear this?" If the answer is "yes", put the garment back on the rail.
Avoid bright red leather at all costs: it's tacky and tarty. Choose more subdued deep-berry reds or oxblood.
Don't assume that you can haul a distressed vintage biker jacket that you last wore in the 1970s out of your wardrobe. The new crop is cut to fit to the body closely.
Black leather can look really harsh - a safer bet are soft caramels, tans and blondes. They work really well with pale cashmeres.
Leave leather trousers to Ms Moss and saggy-bottomed lotharios. A leather mini-skirt is a far chicer. Pair it with a cashmere polo neck, opaque tights and riding boots.

HIGH STREET HITS - we love these.

The pared-down minimalism of COS really lends itself to simple leather pieces. This autumn, the H&M-owned store has produced its signature mini-tunic dress, right centre, in a super-soft mushroom leather (£125). It works best with textural knits.
Gap's soft grey bomber with shearling collar is one of the star pieces of the autumn collections (£198). It will go with virtually anything from a pencil skirt to high-waisted blue jeans.

Topshop also has bomber jackets from £100 (above left and far right), but with more of an edge. They range from a Pan-collared jacket in a soft mossy green to a tougher biker jacket complete with zips and a sexy, fitted silhouette in grey, black or metallic pink.

Fresh from its recent rejunevation, Jaeger has some very clean-cut pieces in luxurious soft leather. Best of all is the one-button cropped-sleeved tan jacket (£450). It's classic and works well with the season's fine-knit cashmeres and slouchy 40s-style trousers.
Happy hunting!


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